Style

Activewear as Ready-to-wear

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Photo by Hans Feurer for Vogue Russia, Getty Images
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Francesca White ruminates on how activewear has become a necessary extension of her ready-to-wear closet.

In case you’ve not noticed, activewear is now a thing. Gone are the days when we would rock up to the gym in an oversized t-shirt and old trainers: today’s kit has been designed not just to be functional – but to offer versatility, comfort and style. After all, you might be doing a punishing number of burpees in your sweat-wicking ensemble, but there’s a high chance that you’re staying in it for the rest of the day. So it needs to perform at all levels.

Fabric is key; designed to stretch (crucial when you’re downward-dogging) but also compress (so everything is held firmly in the right place). Hi-tech varieties are woven with silver fibres (anti-bacterial); their stitching invisible, their seams taped.

Activewear also needs to make us feel good. It needs to cling in the right places (cue hidden corsetry), and make our thighs look slimmer (hello, leg-lengthening panels). It should be supportive (under-bust bands), practical (secret pockets) but also fun. Nothing brings some pizazz to a workout like a pair of glow-in-the-dark leggings.

My Lucas Hugh one-piece, with its bottom-sculpting powers, its soft boning, and its panels of swirling gold takes me from a barre class at KXU, to brunch at Colbert (throw a cropped sweater, sparkly Nikes and a puffy Moncler on top and you’re good to go). I’m tempted to pair it with a Barbour and a slick of neon lipstick, then wear it to a festival – though it would be a nightmare to get on and off in the portaloos. It would look positively soigné with a pair of heels and a tuxedo for supper.

Frankly, the reason I can’t get out of my gym kit is because it’s so easygoing. Just don’t say I’m not dressed for the occasion.